North Carolina Senator Richard Burr is Stepping Down as Chair of Intelligence Committee During Insider Trading Investigation

North Carolina Senator Richard Burr announced his decision to temporarily step down as chairman of the Intelligence Committee during a federal investigation into his alleged insider trading activities.

The speculation of insider trading came about after reports surfaced that Burr allegedly sold stocks after attending secret briefings on the threat of the Wuhan virus pandemic.

“Senator Burr contacted me this morning to inform me of his decision to step aside as chairman of the Intelligence Committee during the pendency of the investigation,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell declared in a statement. “We agreed that this decision would be in the best interests of the committee and will be effective at the end of the day tomorrow.”

Burr was part of a group of senators who sold holdings earlier in 2020 when intelligence officials were holding closed-door meetings about the looming threat of the Wuhan virus. Burr has denied partaking in illegal insider trading activities.

The North Carolina Senator will not run for re-election in 2022.

Burr said in a statement that his decision to step down from his position was needed so that the committee could “continue its essential work free of external distractions.”

Burr’s office has maintained that his stock sales were not connected to any information he received through his position as leader of the Intelligence Committee, which receives multiple briefings about threats the country is potentially facing.

The North Carolina Senator sold 33 stocks on February 13 with a total value ranging from $628,000 and $1.7 million, as stated in his disclosure form. ProPublica first reported the sales. Three of the assets that Burr sold were in hotel companies, which have seen their value collapse due to the global lockdowns caused by the Wuhan virus pandemic.

The Stock Act of 2012 has banned members of Congress and federal officials from trading on nonpublic information about regulatory or legislative decisions that has yet to be decided on. The law also mandated them to publicly disclose stock transactions within 45 days after realizing them, on top of the annual disclosure listing assets and liabilities.

Ideally, Burr would resign from the Senate altogether. Such graft should not be tolerated in Congress.